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Saddle River Day upset 2nd seed Northern Highlands 48-45

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Carly Christofi proved to be the hero for the Saddle River Day Rebels in the 4th quarter drilling home a three-pointer that gave the Rebels the lead at 42-41 and would not relinquish as Saddle River Day denied Northern Highlands to repeat as Bergen County Girls Basketball Champions with a thrilling 48-45 victory in the quarterfinals at Becton High School in East Rutherford. The Rebels will take on Immaculate Conception in the semifinals at Ramapo College on February 15th at 2:00 p.m.

“We made a few adjustments on defense and upped the intensity” said Saddle River Day Head Coach Danny Brown. “Carly Christofi has been solid for us all year long” added Brown.

Up 46-45 with 8 seconds remaining in the 4th quarter, Christofi calmly walked up to the foul line after being fouled and sank two free throws giving the Rebels a 48-45 lead. A wild series of event unfolded next as Kelly Hannigan stole the ball on the inbound pass by the Highlanders and was fouled immediately but missed both free throws. Northern Highlands had one last opportunity to tie the game up but had difficulty once again inbounding the ball and the ensuing pass deflected off a Highlander player. The Rebels eventually ran out the clock.

“We came out with a lot of energy and kept attacking,” said Carly Christofi. “In the 2nd half we really stepped up the defense especially focusing on Melissa Heath” added Christofi. “We never came this far so for a small school is very special”

Saddle River Day came out roaring in the 3rd quarter going on a 7-1 burst. Christofi buried a trifecta to put the Rebels up 29-28. Back came the Highlanders taking the lead at 37-31 but Saddle River Day chipped away at the lead tying it up at 37-37.

Saddle River Day held their largest lead of the game at 18-10 in the 2nd quarter but Northern Highlands weathered the storm going on a 9-0 run highlighted by back to back buckets by Melissa Heath who netted a game high 12 points. Kayla Oge briefly put the Rebels back up by one point with a jump shot but the Highlanders closed out the half on an 8-1 spurt taking a 28-22-halftime advantage.

Oge led the Rebels with 12 points while Christofi contributed 11 points. Melissa Heath dropped in 12 points for the Northern Highlands while Emily Bonifacic delivered 11 points and Rachel Jubelt netted 10 points.

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